Sunday, November 28, 2021

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People & Pets

More than a beautiful bulldog


IMG_0504A Drake alum and director of Drake’s annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest, Niki Smith already had a deep-seeded love for the breed. But in September of 2016, she finally became a bulldog owner.

Seven-year-old Dexter is not an English Bulldog — the breed synonymous with the university — but rather is an Olde English Bulldogge, a cross between American and English bulldogs.

“They get the good traits of both. He has the athleticism of an American Bulldog but the mild temper of the English Bulldog, but not as lazy as the English Bulldogs get,” Smith said.

A rescue dog, Dexter found his way to Smith through social media. She saw post from her friend and co-worker Erin Bell — who is the owner of Drake’s live mascot Griff — about Dexter being in need of a new home.

“Anytime she hears about bulldogs that need to be adopted, she posts about them. She posted about him, and we jumped at the chance because he’s so cute,” she explained.

Prep Iowa

Dexter’s original owners in Minnesota had three children younger than 3 and didn’t feel they could continue giving Dexter the attention he deserved. Interestingly, Dexter came with a Spanish birth certificate, having been born in either Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic. He flew to the states as a puppy to live in Minnesota.

“The thing I like the most are the interactions he has with my daughter. She’ll put a lot of tiaras on him,” Smith says with smile. “They like to snuggle up and watch Disney princess movies every day.”

The adorable interactions between Dexter and Riley are captured by Smith on Dexter’s twitter account @oldedexter. At 84 pounds, and like most large dogs, Dexter seems blissfully unaware of his size, which is also seen on Twitter.

“The thing between us that we do the most is he loves to lay on my lap. Sometimes I lose circulation; we gotta shift things around,” Smith said.

Social media accounts for pets have become popular, and bulldogs are no exception. Smith estimates 25 percent of the Beautiful Bulldog contestants have one.

IMG_0559Sadly, Dexter can’t compete in the contest his mom runs, since the rules state contestants must be English Bulldogs. But this year has a bountiful amount of beautiful bullys. With more than 120 entrants, the contest saw a record-breaking number of dogs submit for the lottery. This year 40 bulldogs (down from 50 in previous years) and 10 alternates were selected at the Knapp Center on March 20.

To see which beautiful bulldog reigns supreme, check out the conclusion of the 38th Annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest on Sunday, April 23 at the Drake Relays. ♦


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